War of the British Worlds: The Anglo-Argentines and the Falklands

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  • Ezequiel Mercau
The 1982 Falklands War was shrouded in symbolism, bringing to the fore divergent conceptions of Britishness, kinship, and belonging. This article casts light on the persistent purchase of the idea of Greater Britain long after the end of empire, addressing a case that would normally be deemed outside its spatial and temporal boundaries. By highlighting the inherent contradictions of this transnational bond, the South Atlantic conflict had a profound effect on an underexposed British community with a lingering attachment to a “British world”: the Anglo-Argentines. As they found themselves wedged between two irreconcilable identities, divisions threatened to derail this already enfeebled grouping. Yet leaders of the community, presuming a common Britishness with the Falkland Islanders and Britons in the United Kingdom, sought to intervene in the conflict by reaching out to both. That their efforts were met with indifference, and sometimes scorn, only underlines how contingent and frail the idea of Greater Britain was by 1982. Yet this article also reveals how wide ranging the consequences of the crisis of Greater Britain were, and how its global reach was acutely put to the test by pitting different “British worlds” against each other.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of British Studies
Volume55
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)145-168
ISSN0021-9371
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 179283816